A mother nursing her baby—it’s undoubtedly one of the most beautiful pictures nature could make. It’s additionally one of the least complexes. Breastfeeding is so natural, truth be told, that we’ve been doing it for many years. (In fact, without it, humankind wouldn’t have survived.)
However, don’t be fooled: For a few ladies, the initial couple of days or weeks of breastfeeding are challenging.
“Breastfeeding is natural, but it’s a practiced skill, almost an art form,” says Corky Harvey, R.N., M.S., a lactation consultant and co-owner of The Pump Station, a breastfeeding-support center in Santa Monica, Calif. “You could read a book about playing the flute and learn a lot about the instrument,” she explains, “but you won’t really learn how to play the flute until you actually do it.”
Breastfeeding is no different. As with learning to play a musical instrument, success comes from a combination of motivation, knowledge of essential skills, and practice.
Begin by putting your nipple between your baby’s upper lip and nose (higher than picture 1 here), at that point urge her to open wide by tenderly brushing her upper lip with your nipple. Another choice is to brush your child’s cheek with your nipple, which will make her move in the direction of it with her mouth open.
At the point when your infant is “rooting” (searching for the breast with her mouth open), pull her to your breast (instead of bringing your breast to her mouth).
As your baby latches on, you need her to get a big mouthful of breast tissue. The most ideal approach to do this is with an “asymmetric latch” which implies that she gets more breast tissue on the underside of the areola, rather than an equal amount all around.
Your baby’s lips should be opened wide around the breast. The best latch is one in which you don’t feel any pain and your baby is getting milk. (Listen for the sound of your baby swallowing.) If latch-on hurts, break the suction – by inserting your little finger between your baby’s gums and your breast – and try again.
As your baby nurses contentedly, hold her close. You may also want to support your breast, especially if your breasts are large.
Getting comfortable with breastfeeding takes time – for you and your baby. Don’t be discouraged. Once you and your baby are in sync, breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience.